Why are electric scooters so expensive [case study + why this is changing]

Even though there are electric scooters for almost any budget, many people will find them to be prohibitively expensive.

This case study examines what makes electric scooters expensive.

Through researching the prices of electric scooters, we will now see why electric scooters are constantly getting cheaper, and why we can expect that trend to continue.

Electric scooter popularity is rising

Electric scooters are ubiquitous in many big cities today. It’s easy to forget that they were no more than cute little hobby toys for nerds just a decade ago (see my guide on the complete electric scooter history if you want to have your mind blown by how far scooters have come).

But their use has proven to be undeniable over time. Their use has resulted in noticeable reductions in traffic jams and increased efficiency. So they are getting more and more popular every year.

In fact, their popularity is at an all-time high right now (July 2020).

It was expected that the COVID-19 pandemic will slow down their growth, but it seems like it had the opposite effect. Maybe people realized the value of owning an efficient transport vehicle that is truly personal, safe, and sanitized.

Here’s a graph representing the general popularity of electric scooters over time. We can clearly see an explosion in popularity, starting around the beginning of 2015.

chart from Google Trends showing growing popularity of the Electric kick scooter topic
Electric scooter popularity on Google Trends, clearly on the rise and at an all-time high

While there are spikes because of seasonality (giving an electric scooter as a gift is a popular and still original holiday idea, and naturally they are more popular during the summer), the trend is clearly on the rise.

Is electric scooter battery cost going down?

The main reason electric scooters are expensive is the battery price. They are by far the most volatile, the most untested piece in the electric scooter. Research and development costs around them are still the biggest expense in electric scooter design and production.

But there is good news here.

Battery prices are going down as well (we have the likes of Elon Musk working on it after all). That is only good news for electric scooter owners.

YearBattery price ($/kWh)
20101160
2011899
2012707
2013650
2014577
2015373
2016288
2017214
2018176
Lithium-ion battery prices over time
graph chart showing electric battery price steadily going down over time
Graph source

As we can see, the battery price has gone down almost 7 times in the 2010-2018 period!

With the combined power of growing demand and falling battery prices, electric scooters will continue to get cheaper and cheaper.

And not only will they get cheaper, but quality and performance will improve as well. This is almost self-evident – just think of the models 10 years, and think of the models now.

Are electric scooters getting cheaper?

It seems that, for electric scooters, as demand goes up, price goes down.

These are the price movements to the 4 most popular electric scooters ever. As we can see, they all follow a clear downward trend. There is an overall reduction of 24.76% in the price for the most popular electric scooters since 2018. As more and more electric scooter models arrive on the market, we can expect the competition to further drive the price down, and this trend to continue.

Electric scooterPrice in 2018Price in 2019Price in 2020Price reduction
Ninebot ES1$400$500$34912.75%
Ninebot ES4$1000$800$69930%
Xiaomi M365$650$550$5997.69%
Glion Dolly$770$700$42944.28%
GoTrax GXL Commuter$430$320$37013.95%
Average$650$574$48924.76%
chart showing price movement of Ninebot ES1 electric scooter over time
Ninebot ES1 price over time
chart showing price movement of Ninebot ES4 electric scooter over time
Ninebot ES4 price over time
chart showing price movement of Xiaomi M365 electric scooter over time
Xiaomi M365 price over time
chart showing price movement of Glion Dolly electric scooter over time
Glion Dolly price over time
chart showing price movement of Gotrax GXL V1 electric scooter over time
Gotrax GXL Commuter price over time

How much does it cost to build an electric scooter?

The cost of building one electric scooter unit will depend on the brand building it, its infrastructure in place, additional costs of shipping, and of course, the salaries for the people that make it.

Obviously, it is not a very useful number for us as end consumers.

In any case, I reached out to 7 famous manufacturers when trying to find out this number. They all refused to disclose this number. And of course, I don’t blame them at all – this number is probably one of their most closely guarded secrets, and it’s part of the reason why they maintain a valuable and profitable company.

One thing is for sure – the profit margin on lower-priced, lighter, mass-produced scooters will always be much, much lower than the profit margin of the high-end, most expensive scooters.

Budget brands can afford to sell their models even for $200 or less, but they sell more of them, and the materials and the know-how for their production are much cheaper.

Of course, there will be some exceptions here. Xiaomi, for example, is a titan in the electronics field, and produces all sorts of different products. That’s why they will have the resources and the experience needed to mass-produce higher-quality models and still keep the prices affordable. The Xiaomi M365 Pro is a perfect example of this.

On the other hand, we have scooters like the Rion2 RE90, which costs $6800 per unit. Your scooter will be made on-demand, meaning the company will start producing it only after you order it. It takes 3 months for the scooter to be produced, and delivery will cost an additional $300-$600. But, in the end, you will get the fastest electric scooter made to this day, and also probably the most expensive scooter too.

In conclusion, typically, the more expensive the scooter is, the more it costs to build it.

Finally, there are always the DIYers among us, that accept the challenge of actually building an electric scooter from scratch. This super-popular video of Albert Nario building himself a fully-functional electric scooter is nothing short of amazing. While the parts and materials he uses can’t cost more than a few hundred bucks total, his obvious technical knowledge is what enables him to achieve this feat.

Are electric scooters a good investment?

If you have read at least three articles on this blog, you will already know the answer to this.

Electric scooters are a great investment. Most models will pay themselves off during the first year in savings on public transport costs and gasoline. That’s why people often buy expensive scooters as well – they will pay themselves off eventually, and they will have an excellent scooter in the meantime.

They are simply unmatched for commuters, helping owners avoid traffic jams, and get where they are going faster and with a lot less stress accumulated along the way.

Charging electric scooters is almost free. Even in the most expensive countries in the world, the average scooter will only cost about 3 cents to fully charge, and less than $10 for the entire year.

So, are electric scooters a good investment? You betcha.

How much do electric scooters cost?

While price is subject to change all the time, we can easily draw some numbers to reach a good approximation to the average.

We do exactly that in our full electric scooter price guide.

The answer?

Electric scooter prices range from $149 to $7400, but on average across all models, they cost $1194.

Of course, this is not a very useful question, since most people don’t really care about the absolutely cheapest models, nor for the super-expensive racing scooters. They just want to know how much a good electric scooter will cost them.

How much does a good electric scooter cost?

This is a bit harder to answer, but nonetheless, we provide a complete answer in the full research on the topic.

The answer from our research: on average, a good electric scooter will cost $1030, with prices ranging from $550 to over $1500. We define a good scooter as one having at least 15 mi / 25 km of range, top speed of at least 15 mph / 25 kmh, 300 Wh of battery, 300 Watts of power, at least some IP rating, and coming from a reputable brand and manufacturer.

What is the cheapest electric scooter?

The cheapest electric scooter for adults today is the Voyager Ion, costing only $189. While there are electric scooters even cheaper than it, they are almost always kid models, and can’t support people weighing above 120 lbs / 55 kg.

To learn more about the cheapest electric scooters today, check out the guide here.

Also, you can consider used electric scooters as a good alternative if your budget is really low (even below $200 maybe), and you’re prepared to take on the risk of buying a used electric scooter. See the EScooterNerds used scooter marketplace and the guide on how to buy a used electric scooter if you’re interested in this option.

What is the most expensive electric scooter?

Currently, the most expensive electric scooter in the world is the Rion2 RE90. As we already mentioned above, it costs $6800 for the scooter, and delivery costs an additional $300 in the USA, and $600 internationally.

Check out our most expensive scooters guide to learn more.


Want to get cool tips, exclusive discounts and promotions, and unseen scooter hacks? Join Scooter Secrets.




Matt standing next to his Xiaomi M365 Pro electric scooter and holding an electric scooter helmet
I love electric scooters, so I decided to make a blog about them. I like doing a lot of research on various models and brands, looking for great value and performance, both through data and experience.